Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Awurwur - ostrich men

Today, as promised, a new post, on the mysterious awurwurs, the ostrich men.

ostrich skeleton
Ostrich Skeleton, the "knee" is actually the "ankle".

Mateo Martinic in his book on the Aonikenk natives of Southern Patagonia [1] wrote about the awurwur as follows (bold mine):

The Patagonian hunters' mythology transmitted by tradition and compiled by some informants and modern & contemporary austors, mentions a "semi-legendary aboriginal group", as Escalada defined it, known under different names such as agongures, agougures, awurwur, aawurwur or auwurwan, aire or airre. They ,according to a legendary aboriginal belief (accepted by authors such as Francisco P. Moreno and Thomas Hrrington), a "Fuegian" group (occidental boat men or kawéskar) settled on the mainland of oriental Patagonia in the southern sector comprising the regions of Santa Cruz and the Strait of Magellan, whose distinctive features were that its members were very fast, because they had their knees facing backwards, like those of ostriches, and they used a tail of feathers

This is very interesting indeed, however I must point out, as you can see in the image above, the things that point backwards are not the bird's knees, they are its ankles!.

The question of the awurwurs is treated by Martinic in a very scholarly manner, and he, of course sets the bird-men aside and goes on to analyze the fuegian boat men.
However, in this blog we can afford to be a bit more extremist, and propose outlandish ideas such as the following:

Could the awurwur myth go back to the days of terror-birds? Do they embody fearful monstrous man eating predators? After all, a ñandú or South American ostrich is a very harmless creature that hides from sight camouflaged by its brown speckled feathers, which blend it into the steppe's vegetation, and its tail is not all that memorable. But what about a gigantic terror bird? (see my posts on them:
Terror birds and some images).

Could this hint at a relatively recent extinction of these giant carnivore birds?

Ok, enough for today! but it is an interesting thought isn't it?


[1] Martinic, Mateo, (1995). Los Aonikenk, Historia y Cultura. Ediciones Universidad de Magallanes. pp. 93

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia
2011 International Year of Forests
2011 International Year of Forests Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall © 

Monday, April 18, 2011

I have been away for some time


I want to apologize to my followers because I haven't been very active lately and my posts have dropped to zero during March 2011. Of course I have a great excuse: I simply have no time!

Since 2011 began, the company where I work (yes, bloggers have to make a living too) was acquired by a very big (BIG would be more appropriate) multinational concern and since then I have been immersed in the ongoing process of merging our operations, including my own job's activities with those of the now larger company.
Please don't be mistaken, the change is very very positive, and in the long run will be the best thing that has happened to both companies.

However, it has all been quite hectic, and the days are very busy, reports, visits (here and there, at the HQ). Though the whole thing is very positive, it has taken its toll on me, I am worn out at the end of each day and simply have nothing left in me to go ahead with my blog.

Add to this my BOOK, or, more appropriately "THE BOOK", which is now being edited for publishing. The publisher's editor asks questions, points out typos and mistakes, needs me to read the proofs, check the images, read both the Spanish and English versions... it is thrilling and delightful, but in the context of my job and its changes is quite exhausting.

So, I do apologize, because, despite all these absorbing events, I have been reading Gravier's "Argentina Bíblica and Bibilónica" (1980. Ed. Albatross), which my wife has kindly given to me as a birthday gift!. And it has opened up some new paths to follow... (soon! please don't despair). I also have managed to write a draft on some strange indians in southern Patagonia (the arwurwur's), which, I promise, will be posted during Easter.

So, thank you for putting up with me, and, once again, please feel free to get in touch with me at:

I thank those who have written (I will post a very interesting mail which links the "horned Fuegian beast" Xalpen with the Phoenicians - strange but interesting link suggested by one of my blog's readers)...

And last, but not least: April 22nd is EARTH DAY, find out what YOU CAN DO, to help poor Mother Earth here: and their "Billion acts of Green".

Have a great Easter and, to my Jewish readers: Jag Sameaj for Passover which begins tonight.


Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia
2011 International Year of Forests
2011 International Year of Forests Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall © 
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